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Pandemic

Delta variant, not ‘vaccine shedding’, behind new COVID-19 cases

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Claim: spike protein from COVID-19 vaccines causes new delta variant

In the past few weeks, many states have begun easing coronavirus restrictions as COVID-19 cases declined and vaccination rates neared President Joe Biden’s goal of partially vaccinating 70% of American adults by July 4th .

The US is expected to miss that target, and now the nation faces another setback: the spread of the contagious Delta variant. It now accounts for at least 20% of COVID-19 cases and is on the rise.

Variants are not unexpected. Whenever a virus replicates in its host, random genetic errors often occur, resulting in slightly altered versions of the original. There have been thousands of coronavirus mutations since the pandemic began. Some strains, like the Delta variant, are more contagious than others.

But some on social media claim cases of cases The new strain is not due to the virus, but rather to the loss of COVID-19 vaccines.

“The new ‘VARIANT’ is none other than the VX spike proteins that infect these vxd and unvxd,” claims a tweet shared in an Instagram post on June 27th. Both Twitter and Instagram accounts belong to the same user USA TODAY asked for comment.

The tweet perpetuates a widespread but grossly false theory that the spike protein produced by the COVID-19 vaccines can somehow cause disease or be excreted and affect surrounding unvaccinated people.

Fact check:MERS and COVID-19 are related coronaviruses, but not the same thing

Both are not possible. The COVID-19 vaccines simply help the body develop immunity to the virus, including the Delta variant.

Vaccine spike proteins cannot cause disease on their own

Some types of vaccines may in rare cases expose vaccines, but not those currently available for COVID-19.

“Since none of the current COVID-19 vaccines approved for emergency use in the US contain the live SARS-CoV-2 virus, virus shedding is not a problem with these vaccines,” says Dr. Matthew Laurens, an infectious disease specialist and vaccine researcher at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, previously told USA TODAY.

The US-approved vaccines contain instructions for the spike protein either in the form of messenger RNA (a type of genetic code normally used by our bodies to make proteins) or via a weakened virus that has been deprived of its ability to replicate.

Regardless of the delivery system, the spike protein cannot cause disease on its own.

When a coronavirus enters your body, usually by inhaling virus-laden droplets from other infected people, the infection proceeds as follows: the virus binds to a protein on the host cell surface, invades the host cell, replicates, destroys the host cell as new virus particles are made and released into the bloodstream.

Fact check:Coronavirus variants come from mutations, not vaccines

A vaccine’s spike protein cannot do all of this because it has been genetically engineered to just boost an immune response, is extremely localized after injection, and lacks the genetic code to put together a fully formed virus particle. As soon as antibodies are formed against it, the spike protein is largely broken down by the host cell.

Delta variant is more contagious, but vaccines help

The Delta variant, which is making an appearance in India this year, is the latest worrying variant – what the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is calling a group of coronavirus strains that appear to be more communicable and cause more serious diseases – especially for those who ‘haven’t been vaccinated, say experts.

What makes the Delta variant so contagious and worrying for scientists are two mutations that allow easy virus transmission – It’s reported to be 50% more transmissible than the dominant alpha variant – and bypasses the immune system.

This is a major concern and threat to poor countries with little to no vaccines, as well as vulnerable areas in the southern United States where vaccination rates are well behind the northeast and west coasts.

“A variant like (Delta), which has higher communicability, will result in more hospitalizations and more deaths in a population with a low vaccination rate,” said Dr. Henry Walke, director of CDC’s Prevention and Emerging Infection Division, told NBC News.

Fact check:Claims about WHO guidelines on vaccinating children have no context

The most important protection against this contagious strain is complete vaccination.

A May study by UK Public Health England showed that two doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine were 88% effective against symptomatic Delta variant diseases and were even more effective at preventing hospitalizations and death. However, the study found that one dose of the Pfizer vaccine only provided 33% protection.

Data on protecting the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine against the new variant is still in progress, but experts say booster vaccinations could likely offer broader protection, including against the Delta variant.

Our rating: wrong

Based on our research, we rate the claim that the spike protein in the COVID-19 vaccines is the cause of the new Delta variant as FALSE. The Delta variant is a genetically unique version of COVID-19 that did not result from vaccine excretion. Vaccine shedding is a real phenomenon with other vaccines, but it’s not possible with the currently approved COVID-19 vaccines as they do not contain live viruses. The spike protein contained in the COVID-19 vaccines in the US is not at all capable of causing disease on its own.

Our fact check sources:

  • US TODAY, June 29th, COVID-19 Restrictions: Map of COVID-19 Case Trends, Restrictions, and Mobility
  • US TODAY, June 22nd, Biden Government Says It Will Not Hit 70% COVID-19 Vaccine Target. What we know
  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, June 24, on variants of the virus that causes COVID-19
  • Vox via YouTube, June 16, Why are so many Covid-19 variants appearing now
  • CNN, June 23, A more infectious variant now makes up 20% of the coronavirus samples tested, Fauci says
  • Next Strain, accessed June 29, Genomic Epidemiology of the Novel Coronavirus – Global Subsample
  • USA TODAY, May 13th Fact check: People vaccinated with COVID-19 do not “secrete” virus particles from the vaccine
  • US TODAY, Jun 17, Fact Check: White Pine Tea Unlikely to Help Against COVID-19; vaccinated do not “shed” particles
  • Stanford Medicine, Oct.15, 2020, The Invader: How the Coronavirus Invades, Exploits, and Kills Cells, and How an Army of Scientists Aims to Destroy It
  • Science, May 4th, in the pipeline: Spike Protein Behavior
  • Uri Manor, May 2, Twitter thread
  • Whole Fact, Jun 17, Claims that spike proteins from Covid vaccines are harmful have not been substantiated
  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, June 23, SARS-CoV-2 Variant Classifications and Definitions
  • US TODAY, June 16, Delta Is “Heaviest” COVID-19 Variant, Scientists Say, How Will It Affect The US?
  • Science, June 25, Delta variant triggers new phase of pandemic
  • WebMD, June 11: COVID-19 vaccine rates in the southern states are lagging behind
  • NBC News, June 27, Delta Variant Threat Is Big Large in the Unvaccinated South
  • Public Health England, May 22nd, Highly effective vaccines against variant B.1.617.2 after 2 doses
  • Reuters, June 28th, Boosters may be needed for J&J shots as the delta variant spreads, some experts are already taking them
  • CNBC, June 29th, Young, Unvaccinated, Over 50, or Just One Dose? You are most at risk from the Covid Delta variant

Thank you for supporting our journalism. Here you can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica.

Our fact-checking work is partially supported by a grant from Facebook.

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Pandemic

Here’s how to keep your kids safe from the Covid-19 Delta variant

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CNN

The more contagious Delta variant is spreading rapidly in the US, but children under the age of 12 can’t get the best protection there is – a vaccine.

That said, pediatricians say there are still simple things parents can do to help children protect themselves from Covid-19, especially when they return to school.

Serious cases are not common in children, but Covid-19 numbers have been higher than ever in the pandemic since November, said Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, director of infectious diseases in the Department of Pediatrics at Stanford Medicine and chair of the committee with the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Her association has been tracking cases and found that nearly 72,000 children and adolescents were infected with Covid-19 last week. That is a significant increase compared to the previous week, about five times as many sick children as at the end of June.

“It is clear that this variant can cause serious injuries in children. You’ve heard these stories from pediatric intensive care units in Louisiana where children are sick as young as a few months, “said Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, John Berman of CNN on New Day Tuesday.

“Anyone who says that as a young healthy person you don’t have to worry, you have to think about it.”

The most important thing that parents need to think about, say pediatricians, is the vaccine.

If a parent or adult hasn’t been vaccinated in a child’s life, get one now, they guess. The same applies to siblings who are old enough.

Parents should also talk to children about why it is important.

“Make sure you have this conversation with them – about why it is important to be vaccinated and how it protects not just them but everyone around them,” said Dr. Dane Snyder, director of primary pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Parents may also want to talk to anyone who interacts with the child about their vaccination status, Maldonado said. If the person isn’t vaccinated and the parents still feel good about having them around their unvaccinated child, at least ask them to wear a mask or even consider asking them to take a test before they do meet.

“You wouldn’t want your child in a car that someone drives without a seat belt or a driver’s license,” Maldonado said. “We shouldn’t be afraid to stand up for the health of our children.”

Snyder said parents should continue to reinforce the message about good hygiene.

For example, she said, parents should teach their children to cough into their elbows and wash their hands.

“Hand washing is really one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of any type of disease, be it in your home or community,” said Snyder.

Three feet of physical distance can reduce the spread of the virus, good ventilation helps, and masks for indoor activities are key, public health experts say.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that anyone over the age of 2, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask when attending school.

“The data is very convincing that masking continues to be a very effective means of preventing infection,” said Dr. Larry Kociolek, attending infectious diseases physician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.

By some estimates, having a mask reduces the risk of contracting Covid-19 by about 50%, he said. “Masks are most effective in areas where there is a high risk of exposure and transmission,” said Kociolek.

Dr. Sarah Combs, an emergency doctor at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC, said parents can make wearing a mask fun.

“Go ahead and get them a mask of their favorite character and tell them it’s like Superman’s mask. Do whatever you can to get them involved, especially the younger who are less understanding, ”said Combs.

Snyder recommends that parents talk to their children about wearing a mask to school so they know what to expect, especially when a mask is not required. “Make sure you talk to children about accepting things about children who are either masked or not,” Snyder said.

As for parents and masks, Dr. Amy Edwards, assistant medical director of pediatric infection control at UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, suggested that even vaccinated parents should wear a mask in public. “That way, they’ll be less likely to get Covid and bring it home,” Edwards said.

The risk of contracting Covid-19 is much lower if the child is playing outdoors.

Edwards said she restricted her own children to playing outdoors only with their friends. “It’s okay to play with the neighborhood kids, but only outside in the yard, not inside in the playroom or bedroom or the like where there is closer internal contact – which is a bigger problem,” she said.

For older children who enjoy video games, Edwards said a parent could set up time for streaming together even if they are in different rooms.

“Try to come up with creative ways kids can play together, but limit their exposure,” Edwards said.

Playing outdoors has an added benefit. “It’s not just safer from a Covid-19 standpoint – physical activity is a real health benefit,” Kociolek said, particularly given the rise in child obesity rates in the Chicago area since the pandemic began.

Talking to children about Covid-19 is essential, according to paediatricians. Children are like sponges, said Combs.

“Even at this very young age, they are aware of their surroundings, they are picking up your emotional cues. And when we try to keep things from the kids, they get more suspicious and fearful, ”said Combs.

This way even a toddler can understand the basics.

Edwards says she even talked to her kids ages 2 and 4 about the Delta variant. “I told them the virus kind of grew up and got a little bit stronger, so we have to fight a little bit harder,” said Edwards.

With teenagers, parents don’t want to make them more anxious, so be factual, Combs said. It can be helpful to acknowledge that it can be scary even for parents. “That’s fine because we know things and ways to reduce the risk and help each of us in the family,” said Combs.

Combs added that it is also good to encourage the children to be open, especially when they are unwell, so that the parents can keep them at home and remind the child that being home is not a punishment stay – it serves the security of the people.

Edwards said clear communication and reassurance are important in children.

“How many times have we told our parents it wasn’t fair and our parents told us life wasn’t fair?” Said Edwards. “For children, this pandemic is the ultimate ‘life is not fair’. We have to let them know that we are doing everything we can to help them. ”

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Pandemic

Australia records one of its youngest COVID-19 deaths as Sydney outbreak grows

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SYDNEY, Aug. 4 (Reuters) – Australia’s New South Wales on Wednesday reported one of the country’s recent deaths from COVID-19 as daily infections remained near a 16-month high despite 5 million people in the state capital, Sydney in the 6th week.

The nameless man in his twenties, who had no underlying health problems and was unvaccinated, died at his home in the city, authorities said. It was deteriorating rapidly after previously complaining of only mild symptoms, they added.

The death underscores the risk to Australia’s largest city, which is struggling to contain a highly contagious Delta variant outbreak when fewer than 20% of Sydney’s residents are vaccinated.

Last year, neighboring Victoria state said an unnamed man in his twenties died of COVID-19, although a coroner is still investigating the exact cause of death.

The young man was one of two COVID-19 deaths reported in New South Wales (NSW) in the past 24 hours. NSW also recorded 233 new cases, near a 16-month high reported last week, and Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian said case numbers were likely to rise.

“I am not going to rule out that the number of cases will not worsen, I even believe that they will worsen,” Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.

“If you look at the number of infected people in the community, it suggests that we may not have peaked yet.”

Berejiklian is under intense pressure to ease the restrictions on movement that are threatening Australia into its second recession in as many years. However, she said at least 50% of the state’s population would need to be vaccinated in order for the curbs to be loosened in late August. Continue reading

Still, many are wary of taking the AstraZeneca (AZN.L) vaccine, the most powerful of two vaccines approved in the country, due to a rare blood clotting problem.

In addition, government models released Tuesday showed that at least 70% of the state’s population would need to be vaccinated to slow the spread.

Authorities have warned people not to wait for an increase in Pfizer shipments (PFE.N) expected in the next month, as case numbers are proving difficult to cut and wastewater tests suggest that the coronavirus may be heading north has spread.

COUNTER-MEASURES

New South Wales has taken aggressive countermeasures to halt the spread of the coronavirus, including cordoning off high-risk suburbs and urging the military to help police enforce lockdown rules. Continue reading

A total of 17 people have died in Sydney during the current outbreak, which began on June 16. During that time, the surge has brought the total number of cases in NSW to more than 4,000.

Nationally, Australia has recorded 927 deaths since the pandemic began, with just over 35,000 cases affecting 22 million people.

Queensland reported 16 locally acquired cases on Wednesday, just like the day before, prompting authorities to declare it the state’s worst outbreak since the pandemic began and warn that a lockdown in the capital, Brisbane, could be extended beyond Sunday .

“If we don’t do anything really, really, really special in Queensland, we’ll be extending the lockdown,” Queensland chief health officer Jeannette Young told reporters in Brisbane.

Coverage of Byron Kaye and Renju Jose in Sydney and Colin Packham in Canberra; Editing by Gerry Doyle and Christian Schmollinger

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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US Covid-19 hospitalizations top 50,000 for first time since February

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According to new data from the US Department of Health, more than 50,000 Covid-19 patients were hospitalized on Monday for the first time since February 27.

The 50,625 Covid-related hospital admissions on the HHS dashboard are more than three times the number of people hospitalized for Covid-19 a month ago when 16,000 patients were hospitalized.

Florida leads the nation in Covid-19 hospital admissions, with 10,682 listed on the HHS dashboard. Texas reported 6,628 Covid-19 hospital admissions this week. California reported 4,682. And Louisiana reported 1,839 Covid-19 hospital admissions, nearing its record for that pandemic.

“You have people with chest pain sitting in an emergency room while their families sit in the waiting room wringing their hands and calling everyone they know,” said O’Neal.

Just over two weeks ago, the hospital had 36 Covid-19 patients, O’Neal said. On Monday it was 155.

“No diagnosis should take up a quarter of your hospital,” said O’Neal. “We no longer believe we are adequately caring for anyone because these are the darkest days of the pandemic.”

The best way to slow the spread of Covid-19 is to get a vaccination, but it doesn’t go fast enough, O’Neal said. Even if people are vaccinated today, it will take weeks for the vaccines to fully work.

So people should wear masks, said O’Neal.

In many hospitals, patients are younger and sicker than they used to be, doctors say.

The seven-day average of daily new coronavirus cases is up more than 40% from the previous week, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday.

“While we absolutely want to deal with this pandemic, Covid-19 is clearly not done with us yet. Therefore, our fight has to take a little longer,” said Walensky.

With vaccination rates rising but still below where they need to be to slow or stop the spread of the virus, many local leaders are turning to masks again to protect their populations.

The CDC updated its guidelines last week advising even fully vaccinated individuals to mask themselves in areas with significant or high transmission. CDC adds 16 travel destinations to its

These guidelines cover more than 90% of the US population – about 300 million people, according to a CNN data analysis released by the CDC on Monday.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has temporarily reinstated the state mask mandate for anyone aged 5 and over, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, while indoors and in public. The mandate comes into force on Wednesday.

“Nobody should suffer the misconception that this is just another climb. We’ve already had three of them, this is the worst we’ve had so far,” said Edwards.

The state health officer, Dr. Joseph Kanter said he anticipates that at any point in the pandemic, Louisiana will hit the highest number of hospitalized Covid-19 patients on Tuesday.

“If we intend to prioritize the things that are important to us, such as keeping our children back in school and in person, and keeping our growing economy open by keeping business open, masking is the best way to ensure that Masking order seriously, both in your personal life and in your professional life, “said Kanter.

Breakthrough infections aren’t as alarming as they seem, says Fauci

Reports of infections in vaccinated individuals known as breakthrough infections have caused some public concern. However, experts say they are not as alarming as they seem. About 99.999% of fully vaccinated Americans have not had a fatal breakthrough Covid-19 case, CDC data shows

“The vaccines do exactly what we ask them to do when it comes to keeping you out of the hospital, keeping you away from serious illness, and certainly preventing your death,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Vaccines result in an eight-fold reduction in the number of people developing the disease and a 25-fold reduction in both hospital admissions and Covid-19-related deaths, Fauci said.

“An important point to make is that the absolute number of breakthrough infections might appear high in a larger percentage of people vaccinated, even with a high level of protection. That’s not the critical number. The critical number is the proportion “of those vaccinated, people who … get breakthrough infections, and that’s the critical one,” added Fauci.

This Texas city has a relatively high vaccination rate, but it is still struggling to get firearms in the face of rising casesWalensky gave some details on what that percentage looks like: Of the tens of thousands of people likely to have been exposed in an outbreak in Provincetown, Massachusetts, she found 346 confirmed breakthrough infections.

“During the summer, some Barnstable County towns can have up to 240,000 visitors a month,” Walensky noted.

Some of these people will even get infected if they are vaccinated, Fauci said.

“You can expect breakthrough infections,” he said. “Most of these infections will be asymptomatic or mild.”

“The bottom line of what we’re saying is … Get vaccinated. I say that every time,” said Fauci.

The CDC reported on Sunday that 816,203 additional doses were administered, and for the fifth straight day the agency recorded more than 700,000 firearms. The current 7-day average of administered doses is 662,529 per day, the highest average since July 7th.

CNN’s Matthew Hilk, Rebekah Riess, Deidre McPhillips, Maggie Fox, Ralph Ellis and Theresa Waldrop contributed to this report.

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